Being a youth leader is very time consuming. For many of us the more time and energy we give to the ministry, the more crazy our home life becomes. To be successful as a youth Leader and to keep from completely losing yourself, streamlining and organization go a long way. Below I have listed the top six steps you can take to keep from burning out, going crazy, or getting lost in the day to day tasks necessary of a youth leader.
The first tip is to become a list maker. We can’t rely on our fallible memory to remember every appointment, meeting, ballgame, and task. Now I am not talking about having post its on every inch of your desk. Purchase 3 notebooks or notepads and label each one with one of the following titles: Quick Notes, Appt’s/Meetings, and To-Do. If you think of another title then buy another notebook. You should always have a notepad and pen on you. Prioritize your to-do list and write a number beside each task. Stick to the order! Don’t do #5 first because you dread #2. Do first things first. Every morning and evening review your notebooks so it will be fresh in your mind. As you complete a task through out the day, mark it off.
The 2nd tip is Delegation. No one person can do everything. God has provided you with an amazing team of leaders who have a wide variety of interests and gifts that are to be used in your ministry. People do not volunteer in Youth Ministry to only be crowd control or to hand out snacks. They have ideas that need to be heard and potentially introduced into the ministry. Be willing to relinquish control and become a team. Ask what gifts they believe they have and together, decide how they can develop and deploy that gift(s) in the ministry. You will reach more students and the ministry will work much better.
The next tip goes right along with the previous tip. One of our responsibilities as a Youth Leader is to equip the next generation to serve God. Help your teens discover, develop, and deploy their spiritual gifts. Youth ministry should be the launching pad for the remainder of our kids lives.
Print and handout a spiritual gifts test from www.goingthedistance.org. The test is tailored to teens. Send it home with them and have them bring it back to the following service. Before moving forward, take them home with you and review them, making note of who would excel where. (If you have a large group, delegate this task to your youth leaders.) Find a way for every student to serve on a regular basis and be creative. If you have a large group, come up with a schedule where teens rotate serving, insuring that they each serve at least once a month. Reevaluate every few months, asking the teens what they like and don’t like about the position in which they have been serving and make changes as needed.
The fourth tip is to keep a file on each student. Each file should consist of all contact information, any permission slips, allergies, spiritual gifts, serving positions, problems, concerns, family life, and so forth. Every few months you and your youth leaders should do a little file housekeeping to make sure things stay in order. A student’s file can be invaluable.
Our fifth tip is to become a collector. A collector is someone who clips headlines and news stories, prints articles, visits the best tips and resources blogs/websites, writes down a clever illustration heard on the radio, and so forth. Develop a filing system and tuck the item away until you need it. If something fits into more than one category make the appropriate number of copies and put one in each file it fits under. When you use one of these items mark the date on the back so you don’t use the same item too close together.
Last but not least to set up a youth ministry email and cell phone/pager. Use the name of your ministry as your email address in some fashion so it is easily remembered. Check it every day, several times a day (morning, afternoon, and evening). Let teens know your “schedule” of checking the ministries email so they know how quickly to expect a reply. This is another task that can be delegated out, even having each person take a week at a time and rotate throughout the group.
Secondly, if finances (and your Sr. Pastor) allow, get a cell phone or pager (I know they are old school) teens can use for emergency situations or where talking is preferred. Allow your leaders to take turns as this is another hands on experience for them.
Ashley Engleford is a youth leader, as well as a freelance speaker and writer. She lived the first 27 years of her life traveling down every sinful road possible, eventually hitting rock bottom as her addiction to pain pills took over. After accepting an invitation to services at a local church and attending for around 3 months, Ashley accepted Christ and He has dramatically changed her life since that fateful day. He has called her to share her journey to Christ with teens everywhere, encouraging them to follow Jesus.
Posted on March 6, 2010